AUTHOR: Raj Shekhar, District Magistrate, Moradabad
Deepak Saxena, Scientist “E”/Technical Director, NIC, Jhansi
A telephone (Mobile/Basic) based G2C m-Governance initiative which provides round the clock, easily accessible, user friendly, responsive, time-cost-labour effective platform for redressing public grievances
The JJSK is basically an attempt to provide an efficient, responsive, platform for handling public grievances. It is based on service oriented architecture and seeks to increase transparency in grievance redressal procedures, increases the efficiency of existing office staff, accelerates the response time and facilitates services anywhere-anytime services to the common citizen.
JJSK aims to ensure a secured platform for contact less, quick, responsive, cost-time-labour saving, made for all, easily accessible 24*7 service for speedy and qualitative disposal of public grievances and to ensure that the public services are delivered at the customer/aggrieved person’s door step, thus restoring pubic faith in government delivery system and also simultaneously encouraging the paperless communication and bridging the digital divide prevailing among urban/rural mass, rich and poor, have and have-nots.
Bundelkhand region of Uttar Pradesh has suffered several years of drought recently and it is a backward region with agriculture as main activity of livelihood. The majority population lives Below Poverty Line (BPL). Industrial development is minimal. There is a substantial presence of families belonging to deprived section of society. Jhansi District offers vast opportunities to people from other regions of Bundelkhand in terms of employment and settlement. The district comprises of 5 tehsils, 8 blocks and 437 gram panchayats covering a vast area of 5024 sq.kilometers. The estimated population of Jhansi district is about 2.5 million.
Due to constant increase in population, lack of sufficient staff to handle huge number of grievances, insufficient funds and lesser reach, the number of grievances has increased tremendously in recent past. On the other hand expectation of people from Government and administrative setup has grown up at higher side, thus bringing in a large scale mismatch between expectation and deliverables. All existing systems of registering, disposing and monitoring of grievances like Tehsil Divas (twice a month officers assemble at Tehsil for hearing public grievances), Thana Divas (twice a month officers assemble at police station for hearing public grievances), LOKVANI (people register their complaints through internet kiosk), daily 10.00A.M.-12.00A.M. Availability of officers for public grievance hearing is very much in place and they are giving results but not up to the satisfaction of the aggrieved person in terms of availability, reach, response, scientific recording and monitoring, quality disposal, cost and labour effectiveness.
The above mentioned schemes are either personal meeting based or internet based varying by nature in accessibility, availability and response. An aggrieved person has to travel from his location either to Block headquarters, Tehsil headquarters, District headquarters to meet the concerned officer/staff to register his grievance or to give his application for disposal. This is a time consuming, costly, cumbersome process and the monitoring and disposal is also very tedious and less effective and also the concerned person is hardly intimated regarding the disposal status of his grievance. A study conducted by the District Administration, Jhansi on a sample of 400 persons revealed that on an average an aggrieved person has to spend about `350-400 just to reach to these offices. The calculated cost included travel expenses, expenditure towards food, printing of application and the loss of income/wages of a common man for the time he had to be away from his work place. An innovation was very much needed in the present scenario.
Effective public grievance redressal is the top most priority of Government of Uttar Pradesh. The District administration Jhansi keeping all the above in mind has developed a platform known as Jhansi Jan Suvidha Kendra (JJSK) with the technical consultation of National Informatics Centre (NIC), Jhansi which is telephone/mobile based. It was launched in the public interest on 10thJune, 2009 in the Collectorate campus, Jhansi. Any person, from any place and at any time can call and register his grievance and a warm welcome is extended to the caller. The grievance is registered online and details of the grievance are also recorded automatically (as an audio file). Every complaint is assigned a unique complaint number and category depending upon the severity of the complaint : “A” category complaints are to be disposed within 24 hours, “B” category complaints are to be disposed within 3 days, “C” category complaints are to be disposed within 7 days.
The grievance is immediately marked to the concerned officer. As soon as grievance is ‘saved’ in the database, automatically one SMS is triggered on the mobile number of the aggrieved person bearing details of his complaint number, category, officer to whom the complaint is marked and target date for disposal. Simultaneously, one SMS is sent to the concerned officer bearing details of the mobile number of complainant, complaint number, category and target date for disposal. Concerned officer is also intimated telephonically for immediate action. A printout of this complaint bearing scanned signature of the District Magistrate is also sent to him through fax/post/special messenger, thus relieving the person from the pain of journey to the concerned office. It saves the precious time, money, labour and also at the same time provides required attention in terms of responsiveness (while registering the grievance, investigating the grievance and while conveying the details of disposal to the aggrieved person). Thus fulfilling the objectives of JJSK which is to provide round the clock, free of cost, easily accessible, responsive, user friendly, cost effective and time saving platform for public grievance redressal.
Strategies adopted for JJSK
This project has effectively used the best features of telephone like call features, SMS based feature, internet browsing feature etc. for effective redressing the grievances of common man and to empower public delivery system. JJSK is equipped with three computer systems, three laser printers, one voice logger system, SMS gateway, internet connection, web server for online processing, Web application, three telephone lines with caller-ID, one fax machine, one television and various news papers and journals are subscribed. Every day one district level officer, two clerks, two computer operators and one class-IV employee are assigned duties in JJSK to run and monitor the project in shifts of eight hours each on voluntary basis. In JJSK each and every incoming call and outgoing call is automatically recorded by the voice logger software which saves the complete call conversation with telephone number, date, time and file name.
The complete data (complainant’s personal detail, complainants contact number, brief summary of complaint, the department/ officer responsible for disposal, disposal details etc) is available on the website of Jhansi Jan Suvidha Kendra for Administrative purpose and for information to all stake holders. Various tailor-made reports are being generated for administrators and other useful details are available on net for common man thus making the system more accountable, responsible and transparent.
Throughout the whole process of receiving, registering, intimating, monitoring, disposing complaints and cross verification of disposed complaints JJSK staff constantly keeps itself personally in touch both with the aggrieved person and concerned officer through active call and SMS. Each and every disposal detail is cross verified by the officers and staff deployed at JJSK by calling the aggrieved person, intimating him regarding the disposal details and also taking his feedback for the same. Thus ensuring time bound effective and qualitative disposal of complaint. In case of dissatisfaction of the complainant the concerned officer is asked to look into it again accordingly. Pending status, defaults status of complaints, disposal quality of grievances registered is being monitored on daily and weekly basis by the Chairman and the Administrators of JJSK. District Magistrate/Chairman, JJSK, Jhansi on regular basis personally talks to the complainants on his phone and enquires about the quality of disposal. There is an inbuilt system of sending the SMS at predefined time daily and also there is a regular monitoring, meeting by Chairman Jhansi Jan Suvidha Kendra. He himself reviews all the default and pending complaints on weekly basis and also personally crosschecks the quality of the disposal in the concerned meeting. JJSK is being successfully replicated in UP Housing Development Board, Lucknow and Jhansi Cantonment Board, Jhansi. JJSK has been seen, appreciated, commented and supported by many dignitaries and senior officers of Government of India and UP Government.
In the state level review meeting held in June 2010 at Lucknow, Government of Uttar Pradesh has appreciated the initiative and asked other districts of Uttar Pradesh to follow the JJSK model for effective redressal of public grievances. Government of UP with its decision on 18th August 2010 has ordered for replication of this model in all 71 districts of UP and already 18 districts have implemented the project. JJSK was selected and recommended by the UP Govt for the Prime Minister Award for excellence in the Public Administration for the year 2010.
The system has resulted in improvement in service delivery of various departments both in measures of quality and time such as electricity, water supply, municipal corporation, public distribution systems, police, revenue, development. Before feeding each disposal in the software the complainant is asked about his satisfaction which has sensitized both the administration and the public. This brings administration more close to public and gives birth to a new value system. This system has strengthened and facilitated the poor common men, women, elders, physically challenged, deprived sections (Schedule Caste, Schedule Tribes) by providing them a powerful tool in their hands so that they can reach out to the Government and receive the benefit of all Government schemes and become a part in the development process without any kind of impediment. The fact that more than 36,000 families are vesting their faith in JJSK within one year of implementation itself speaks about the impact it has made in the lives of common man. There has been a drastic drop in the count of people coming to district headquarter to meet senior officers to get their problems solved.
When compared to other e-governance initiatives already in place in various institutions JJSK stands out distinctly for its unique, innovative and citizen friendly approach in terms of reach, cost-time-labour effectiveness, inbuilt fool proof mechanism of quality cross check and monitoring leading to efficient administration and corruption free society. Above all it ensures the satisfaction of aggrieved person making it distinct from other projects, thus strengthening the concept of e-accountability and e-democracy. Time bound qualitative disposal of complaints taking the aggrieved person’s satisfaction into consideration and ensuring constant communication between aggrieved person and concerned officer with transparency and accountability has not only simplified life of the common man but has also ushered in a new work culture which has been the backbone of SMART (Simple, Moral, Accountable, Responsive, Transparent) governance.
JJSK is a step towards SMART Collectorate. It is the beginning of a long journey. It can be understood as an evolving process wherein more and more services will be added to benefit the citizens as the project goes on further. As of now the immediate future plans include: Using ‘voice SMS’ based services for system monitoring and disposal of the grievances, Intimating the citizen regarding the disposal status and its summary through the ‘pre recorded voice call’, Going in for ‘conference call facility’ (Government officer-JJSK-citizen) for effective monitoring and disposal, using SMS based platform for ensuring effective running of PDS system ( two way SMS platform), using SMS platform for collecting teachers attendance detail, students attendance detail MDM details on daily basis. ( two way SMS platform), using call based and SMS based platform for effective running of NRHM project and Using call based and SMS based platform for effective running of MGNREG’s.